One of my favourite interiors that I can across whilst researching this subject was untitled drawing by Basil Beattie (2002). This very simple acrylic on paper depicts (to me at least) a architech-type side view of a dwelling of sorts, accessed by ladder. I love the simple lines that allow the eye to wander through this ‘house’ exploring different rooms. This style contrasts beautifully with the more classic form of interiors depicted by Richard Artschwager in ‘Interior‘. Here Artschwager shows detail of very elegant living in a Regency style house. The drama in these images is provided by the bold negative shapes created by the furniture and the sense of journey through the room. The images work as a pair, one continuing from the other, so again you eye wanders back and forth between the two and stretches into the next room visible though the door on the right. There is very cleaver use of colour in these screen prints, with a single yellow tone used sparingly.
Francis Bacon uses very sparse interior settings for his distorted human figures. In his ‘Figure in Grey Interior” there is no detail to the wall area, however, the figures on the sofa are set in their interior space by the use of a curved sweeping line of the sofa which is mirrored on the floor. Bacon uses this curved line in several images to anchor his subjects in an interior space.
Richard Hamilton’s now iconic 1992 image of ‘Just what is it that today’s homes so different?’ uses stark imagery to get across his ideas. Perspective (and thus positioning of objects) is very important and distorted. This gives a sense of unease to the imagery. This work is a digital remake of an image Hamilton previously made in the 1950s ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” In each case (the original and the remake) Hamilton has filled his house with objects important to the period in which they were made for instance, the 1992 image has many references to the digital age, including circuit board wall paper. Current affairs are also addressed, with the 1992 image depicting a bust of Margaret Thatcher and scenes of war apparent through the windows.
Roy Lichtenstein made a series of interior paintings in the 1990’s such as ‘Interior with Waterlilies’ (1991). The paintings are very basic in their features, with typically bold outlines and blocks of colour associated with pop-art. To me these images are quite sterile. I find no emotion attached to them and hence find it difficult to say something about them! I think it is the lack of tonal variation that causes me to think this way. I much prefer to look at something less regimented such as ‘Sketch of a family at a meal, seated around a table‘ by Josef Herman (date unknown). Although still simple in its design and execution, the range of tonal values allows the eye to roam the image and engage with some emotion. For me it s feeling of contentment looking at this image, a feeling that the family is acting as a unit and enjoying each others company.